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Labor Unions of the late 1800s

            The three labor Unions were created more the less to improve work life in the Factories. Workers had long hours, poor conditions and low wages; while their employers enjoyed vast wealth. As new inventions were created they replaced employees, the handicap of unskilled European laborer/immigrants bringing wages down for the low cost they would work. The three unions where the Labor Union, Knights of Labor and the American Federation of Labor, two fail, one succeeds. This is due to the manner in which each pursued their goals, and those goals in and of themselves.
             The Labor Union, the first formed, was organized in 1866 and represented a giant stride by workers. It however, was asphyxiated by business practices such as Lockouts, where employers locked themselves into the facilities and basically starved their employees of money (which lead to food); Yellow Dog Contracts which laborers could not join unions; and lastly the Black List on which were the names of employees fired for forming unions or leading strikes, which prevented them employment. Its goals center mainly on social reform but included and 8 hour day arbitrations of industrial disputes. It was killed by the depression of the 1870s. .
             The Knights of Labor began in 1869 as a secret society. Its obsessive secrecy slowed it down its reprisals by employers. It included all but liquor dealers, lawyers, bankers, professional gamblers and stockbrokers. Their goals were social and economical reform, including producers" cooperatives and codes for safety and health. They also pushed for the 8 hours work day. Their downfall was actually the Haymarket Square episode, in which anarchists during a knights protest, a dynamite bomb was thrown the killed and injured several dozen people, including police. They were also hindered by "scabs" or hired immigrant replacements. .
             Finally the American Federation of Labor, spawned in 1886 it was the largest, and created by Samuel Gompers.

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